The entire car – based on the Mégane IV and known as the Renault Mégane RX – will be designed at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury. This will include development of a bespoke 2.0 turbocharged engine.
Meanwhile the Mégane RX is expected to be unveiled at France’s WRX round in early September ahead of an intense testing programme. It will go into competition in 2018 with Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit driving for his own team, GCK.
David Richards, Prodrive Chairman, explained: “It has long been an ambition of ours to compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It is the fastest growing motor sport series in the world and gives us the opportunity to use all our engineering experience to create a car capable of winning the world title.
“Guerlain is obviously a very talented driver and we look forward to working with him and developing a race car that both he and Renault will be proud of.”
Guerlain Chicherit added: “I’m so happy to be working with the guys from Prodrive to build what has been my dream for a long time. I know that with the right team and the support we have we’ll be able to produce a car that will really make an impact in the paddock. I absolutely trust Prodrive to build the best car and I’m excited to bring my brand and partners to the Championship in 2018.”
What is World Rallycross?
World Rallycross is undoubtedly one of the most exciting forms of motor sport in the world and is contested by many different models of car run by both manufacturer-backed teams and privateer entrants (such as the GCK-Prodrive effort).
Grids of up to six cars – each around the 600hp mark – go head to head in quick-fire sprint races on short circuits that are a combination of asphalt and gravel (approximately 1.5km in length and often providing views of most, if not all, of the lap).
There is therefore a real emphasis on driver skill to tame the cars on the mixed surfaces. The action is, quite literally, explosive – consider that the top 600hp ‘Supercars’ can out-accelerate a Formula 1 car. They also regularly ‘get into one another’, sound fantastic and shoot out a lot of flame from their exhaust systems. Imagine that Mégane. You get the picture…
Each event lasts for two days and after numerous heats plus semi-finals the top six performers come together in a grand final of six pulsating laps.
The action is also shown live on TV in the UK, on the free-to-air channel Quest.